So things have been happening for me slowly but surely on this side of the Indian Ocean, or South China Sea to be more exact. Not only is this my 50th post on the blog it also heralds my big break, but I’ll get to that in a while.
Wow 50 posts, that doesn’t seem like a lot but it feels like a long time. There’s been a lot of musings and ponderings and useless info – not only by me, mind you (thanks dedicated comment posters) – and a crazy World Cup in between too. To think, I’ve been in Nam for more than four months already. Everything snowballed since Chris, pillow clutched firmly to his breast, and I got on the plane in Cape Town early one April morning to set off for Johannesburg, then Nairobi, a weekend in Bangkok and finally Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh City.
All the stress of trying to find work, get accustomed to the strange street names, traffic, food and general culture seems like a heartbeat – except every now and then a surreal moment of clarity hits you. Something small triggers it – a sign that reads: “Dung’s Baby Store” or a man pissing against a wall next to your house with no skaam and you just stop in your tracks and think: “What the hell am I doing in this place?”. Yet familiarity returns and sanity prevails in the end. I think this must be the equivalent of a first-year poppie from the platteland arriving in Stellenbosch for the first time, but once you get into and understand the scheme of things the ball starts rolling and doesn’t stop any time soon.
Since getting work things have happened even faster. It’s like a vicious cycle (like the days when Wilhelm and I worked at the Dros) that you can’t break. Get up for work in the wee hours, work all day and night, get home, have a few beers and sleep just to do it all again the next day. Luckily we’ve forced ourselves to slow things down a bit, making some free time over the weekend to relax and enjoy life a bit more – after all, this IS an adventure of a lifetime that precious few in the world will ever be able to experience and for this reason I’ve decided that gratitude is more important than easy off-the-lip cynicism which usually comes so easily to me. So I thank my lucky stars for all of it and know that one day I’ll look back at this and think: “Shit, did I do THAT?!”.
Which brings me to my second point: My big break. I’m officially in the model/acting industry. Yes, now would be the right time to rub out your eyes. One of the teachers at the Australian school took some photos of some of the teachers to send to a recruiting agency who phoned me on Saturday to be in (what I thought would be) an ad. It was actually a photo shoot for Getty Images who were setting up a photo bank (where all the magazines and companies can buy images of all sorts at exorbitant prices).
Anyways, the “theme” of the shoot was businesspeople (Prof Rabe would be quite proud of that self-edited gender correctness). We were in this big warehouse that was painted totally white doing stupid things like posing for handshakes, giving speeches and giving rounds of applause. It was weird, but I guess when looking at all the weirdness I’ve been exposed to since arriving here it fitted like a glove. They paid me too, which wasn’t actually necessary since I enjoyed the Zoolander role – they didn’t really think my “Magnum” or “Blue Steel” was up-to-scratch yet.
The agency phoned again yesterday, they need me for another shoot tomorrow which should be quite cool – I get to play a messy lawyer or something like that.
But wait folks, there’s more. I was also approached (hehe – see I’ve already got the lingo going) by VUS school to star in the leading role in their English Speaking Club’s Mid-Autumn Festival play in two weeks. I’m playing Chu Cuoi, a character out of Vietnamese mythology, who has to rescue his girlfriend Chi Han from the moon or something like that, don’t ask. There’s gonna be about 200 teenagers or something like that so I’m quite scared. I’ve been to the tailors to get fitted for my traditional costume as well so I have to watch my weight for a while too.
Oh yes folks, this is it. I’m gonna make it big, but I’ll never forget my roots. I’ll give a shout out to all of you at the next MTV Asia Video Awards. What to wear, what to wear…but don’t call me I’ll call you, or if I don’t have time my agent will :P